A U.S. nuclear commander's intoxication and belligerence while in Russia on a July work trip led to his dismissal, the Associated Press reports.
Maj. Gen. Michael Carey behaved in an indecorous manner at an official lunch gathering, and he associated on multiple occasions with Russian women he admitted to be "suspect," the Air Force inspector general said in a report made public on Thursday.
Carey was dismissed in October from his command of the 20th Air Force, which oversees roughly 450 Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles. At the time, the service alluded generally to Carey's poor behavior while on work travel, but did not specify Russia or the particular accusations against him. The officer is now special assistant to the commander of Air Force Space Command, a position with no direct command over nuclear arms.
During the trip, Carey initially displayed signs of drunkenness while waiting to transfer to another plane at an airport in Zurich, Switzerland, according to another member of the U.S. team. The Air Force interviewed seven U.S. delegates about Carey's behavior based on a report from that colleague, a staffer for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
The reporting official, whose name was withheld, said the general "appeared drunk and, in the public area, talked loudly about the importance of his position as commander of the only operational nuclear force in the world and that he saves the world from war every day," according to the inspector general report.
Carey also said personnel under his command "have the worst morale of any airmen in the Air Force," and his superiors were failing to help him address discontent in his ranks, Hagel's staffer alleged.
In a Sept. 4 interview with investigators, Carey said he did not recall expressing any lack of high-level support, and described telling Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh that the 20th Air Force enjoyed "solid" morale.
The inspector general, though, judged Carey to be "less credible than the other witnesses."
"[He] either had a poor recall of significant events, perhaps due to his alcohol consumption, or was untruthful during the interview," the report stated.
Welsh last month said Carey had apologized for instances of misconduct, and outlined plans for the service to tighten vetting of candidates for high-level, nuclear-command positions.